The Synergy Conference 2020 will convene April 29 - May 1, 2020 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, NC. This year's conference is themed: FUTURE IN FOCUS. The conference timeline can be viewed here. Please note that the Wednesday portion of the conference will consist of the 21st Century Community Learning Center Statewide Meeting only. For those registered attendees that are not a part of a 21st CCLC program, check-in for the Synergy Conference will begin at 8:30am on Thursday, April 30.

Early Registration is now open for the annual SYNERGY CONFERENCE! You can register  here  by February 16th for the discounted rate of $200. Regular registration will begin on February 17th at the regular rate of $225.  

Afterschool, before school and summer programs that have never attended the Synergy Conference are being offered a special rate. If your program/organization has never attended or participated in the Synergy Conference, staff can register to attend at the rate of $175. Please send a registration request for this discounted rate to In your email, please include your program/organization name and the names of staff that are registering. 
***Note: This discount is specific to programs that have never been represented at the Synergy Conference. 

The SYNERGY CONFERENCE 2020 has a hotel block at the Sheraton Greensboro at 
Four Seasons for the discounted rate of $147/night.  You can make hotel reservations  here.   Hotel reservations must be made by 5pm on April 7th to get the discounted rate. Please make your hotel reservations as soon as possible to secure your room. 

We hope to see you in Greensboro!
Afterschool programs across our country are making a huge difference in the lives of children, families and communities. Millions of our children and youth rely on federal support, determined by the U.S. census, to attend afterschool and summer learning programs.

The results of the census will be used to determine how more than $675 billion of federal spending will be allocated for the next 10 years.
It is critical that every individual physically living in the country be counted in the census regardless of age, citizenship status, homeowner status, or language spoken at home. But far too many families are not counted, especially those that directly benefit from access to afterschool and summer learning programs.  Helping to get an accurate census count is one of the most important things we can do to serve our communities.

Why does the census matter to afterschool programs and the families they serve?
  • The results of the census are used to determine how more than $675 billion per year of federal spending will be allocated for the next 10 years.
  • Out of the 16 biggest programs with funding tied to census results, 8 are related to education; the largest of these tied to afterschool is Title I funding. 21st Century Community Learning Centers funding, and Child Care Development Block Grant funding are also determined by the census results.
  • Census data is used widely by both the private and public spheres. If the census count is not accurate, the children, families, and communities we serve stand to lose a host of resources.
How can afterschool providers make a difference? 
  • Encourage members of your community, including youth 18 or older, afterschool staff, and parents apply to be paid census takers. Applications can be found here
  • Educate your students, families, and communities about the importance of the census.
  • Help facilitate (and even host) events to encourage an accurate census count.
To learn more about Census 2020, click here
THANK YOU to everyone that submitted a workshop proposal. All accepted proposals will be notified on February 21.

The Request for Proposals (RFPs) for Vendors is still open and will close in March. Additionally, a new Request for Proposals for Keynote Speakers is now open and will close on February 14. 
Copies of each RFP, deadlines and additional details can be accessed by visiting the  Synergy Conference 2020 page

Sheneika Simmons joins the NC Center for Afterschool Programs as the Program Coordinator. Sheneika will work directly with the  NC CAP Director to develop, lead, coordinate, and drive the North Carolina Statewide Afterschool Network's initiatives. She supports the design and delivery of various professional development opportunities, advocacy, and the shaping of policy that assists in the advancement of out-of-school time learning.

Prior to joining NC CAP, Sheneika earned a Bachelor's of Science degree in Psychology from Ferrum College in Ferrum, VA and a Masters' of Science in Educational Studies from Johns Hopkins University. Currently, she is working towards the completion of a Doctorate Degree in Human Service from Capella University. Sheneika is a Teach For America, Eastern North Carolina Corps Member Alumni (2015) and a StartingBloc Fellow  (Raleigh-Durham, 2018) . Since joining Teach For America, Sheneika remained in the classroom until joining the NC CAP team. She has been able to work with youth, communities, and programs in various capacities including as a STEM/PBL Coordinator and PBIS Lead. Sheneika is passionate about the future of youth in North Carolina and the programs that impact them. As a former educator, she still continues to focus on fostering positive relationships for youth and promoting strategic programming that enhances the whole child.
The NC Center for Afterschool Programs is accepting nominations for the 2020 Afterschool Champions. Nominees should demonstrate outstanding work in developing, supporting and promoting high-quality afterschool and out-of-school time programs to benefit youth and families statewide.

Afterschool Champion Award categories are below, followed by the nomination form. The deadline to submit nominations is March 20th. Selected award recipients will be recognized during the lunch and award ceremony at the Synergy Conference 2020 on Thursday, April 30th.

This award spotlights an individual, program, or organization whose life or mission has demonstrated outstanding work in developing, supporting and promoting high-quality afterschool and out-of-school time programs to benefit youth and families. Nominees should have more than five (5) years of experience.

This award spotlights an individual, program, or organization whose life or mission has demonstrated considerable work in developing, supporting and promoting high-quality afterschool and out-of-school time programs to benefit youth and families. Nominees should have between two (2) and five (5) years of experience.

A letter of recommendation or support should accompany every nomination. 
**Note: For a program nomination, a letter of support must be from a youth program participant or parent.
The purpose of the 21st CCLC program is to provide federal funds to establish or expand community learning centers that operate during out-of-school hours with three specific purposes:
  1. Provide opportunities for academic enrichment, including providing tutorial services to help students (particularly students in high poverty areas and those who attend low-performing schools) meet state and local student performance standards in core academic subjects such as reading and mathematics.
  2. Offer students a broad array of additional services, programs, and activities, such as: youth development activities; service learning; nutrition and health education; drug and violence prevention programs; counseling programs; arts, music, physical fitness and wellness programs; technology education programs; financial literacy programs; environmental literacy programs; mathematics, science, career and technical programs; internship or apprenticeship programs; and other ties to an in-demand industry sector or occupation for high school students that are designed to reinforce and complement the regular academic program of participating students.
  3. Offer families of students served by 21st CCLCs opportunities for active and meaningful engagement in their children's education, including opportunities for literacy and related educational development.
Any public or private organization wanting to provide out-of-school programs for K-12 students in North Carolina is eligible to apply for a 21st CCLC grant.  

To learn more about the RFP process and utilizing the Application Guidance and Planning Worksheets to submit a quality proposal, organizations are encouraged to register for one of the upcoming 21 st CCLC RFP Regional Technical Assistance Trainings in February. Each session is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - Wilson, NC - Wilson Community College
  • Friday, February 7, 2020 - Fayetteville, NC - Cumberland County Educational Resource Center (ERC)
  • Monday, February 10, 2020 - Webinar
To learn more about the 21st Century CCLC Grants, click here
While efforts to professionalize the afterschool field have been underway for decades, limited attention has been paid to date on articulating a leadership pipeline or career ladders where emerging leaders can chart their professional goals and progression.

In addition, the National AfterSchool Association (NAA) recently convened a series of leadership conversations focused on creating a culture of professionalization in afterschool, which included a discussion of the need to build and foster a more diverse leadership pipeline. These leader-focused discussions were a natural next step in NAA's long track record of commitment to equity and advocacy for the professionalization of the afterschool field.

The Afterschool Leadership Landscape: Supporting and Strengthening Racial Equity
NAA engaged Policy Studies Associates and Public Profit in a collaborative effort to frame efforts to support the diversity and capacity of afterschool leaders. This new report identifies a racial leadership gap across the nonprofit sector, including afterschool, and provides recommendations for supporting emerging leaders of color.  

To download the report, click  here .

Professional Learning Community for Emerging Leaders of Color
NAA is now elevating the importance of building a diverse leadership pipeline through the launch of the Professional Learning Community for Emerging Leaders of Color (PLC) with grant support from the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and in partnership with the California School-Age Consortium and Development Without Limits.

The PLC seeks to foster a network of equity-driven leaders of color, support them in deepening their equity analysis and leadership skills to be agents of change in the afterschool field, and help them create a roadmap that advances their careers in the afterschool field.

Applications are due February 10th, 2020
To access more information and the application, click  here.

The North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP) is embarking on exciting new work to expand the amount of STEM opportunities in afterschool programs. High quality afterschool programs have shown to increase student academic performance, behavioral improvements and have been a factor in supporting regular school attendance. To increase these types of opportunities for children and youth throughout the state, it is necessary to develop partnerships and identify resource gaps. The STEM Afterschool Expansion VISTA will increase access to high-quality afterschool programs focusing on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields for youth statewide, particularly those that are growing up in poverty, and establish a community support system that links established afterschool programs with potential partners and STEM resources. This position is based in Raleigh, NC.  
Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) introduced the Classrooms Reflecting Communities Act ( S. 2887 ) late last year to engage student learning by helping educators in schools become more demographically representative of the communities they serve, and supporting rural schools struggling with teacher shortages.

The legislation included multiple data points on why teacher diversity is important:

Research shows that teachers of color help close achievement gaps and are viewed positively by all students. Research also demonstrates benefits, including improved academic achievement, greater educational attainment, and higher academic aspirations, for students of color who are taught by teachers of color. Likewise, it is important for all students, not just students of color, to have diverse teachers and leaders in their schools.

And how to get it done:

Research shows that Grow Your Own Programs can be an effective strategy to recruit diverse, well-qualified candidates to the profession and prepare them with the needs of the community and school district in mind.

The bill would amend the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and provide grants for Grow Your Own Programs to partner with of Institutions of Higher Education, school districts, and other optional partners, working within their communities to train new teachers, including those with extensive clinical experience and culturally responsive pedagogy. Grants would also support new teachers with mentoring opportunities during their first two years in the classroom.

In recruiting teachers for the rural Grow Your Own model, grant recipients are expected to look broadly to those in their community, including those with experience working in community service, leadership, and with children and youth.

To read the full article, click here

Excerpt from: 
The 12th Annual "Doodle 4 Google" contest theme, "I show kindess by...", invites students to  tell us how they show kindness. Is it by helping around their home? Volunteering in their community's green space? Maybe it's comforting someone who's down, or picking up trash in the park. However students define it, let Google know how you bring a little bit more kindness into the world. 

54 students will be named winners from their state/territory. Five finalists will be flown to Google's headquarters in California, and one winning student from among the five will receive: 
  • A $30,000 college scholarship
  • A $50,000 Google for Education technology package for their school
  • Their artwork will be placed on the Google homepage for a day
The remaining four finalists will win a $5,000 college scholarship. The competition closes on March 13, 2020. 

To learn more about the "Doodle 4 Google" Contest, click here.  
The SCR program is an educational enterprise that provides after-school and summer activities/programming for students in the Orange County Schools district. 

They focus on equitable, socially conscious, community minded programs that also educate students about the importance of brain function, physical activity, and best nutritional practices with local partners. All of their programs are rated five star programs in order to meet the needs of ALL students in Orange County.

To learn more about the SCR Programs and their impact, click here
FEMA created the Youth Preparedness Council (YPC) in 2012 to bring together young leaders who are interested in supporting disaster preparedness and making a difference in their communities by completing disaster preparedness projects nationally and locally. The YPC supports FEMA's commitment to involve America's youth in preparedness-related activities. Additionally, it provides FEMA the opportunity to engage young people and share their perspectives, feedback, and opinions.
YPC members meet with FEMA staff throughout their term to provide input on strategies, initiatives, and projects. YPC members also attend the annual YPC Summit in Washington, DC, meet regularly with FEMA representatives, and complete several emergency preparedness projects.

This year, YPC members are working on projects for financial preparedness, citizen responder programs, and youth preparedness education. Meet the council and learn more about each of the members  here.

To learn more about the YPC, click  here .
MeckEd offers professional development opportunities to their partners. Their professional development offers opportunities for program assessment, feedback, and coaching.  In addition, they offer year-round trainings and workshops.  Lastly, MeckEd connects partners in their network to allow for peer knowledge exchange.
Programs that attend ALL EIGHT sessions and present at Capstone will receive the following:
  • $1,000 of seed funding to advance ideas learned in the PD sessions 
  • Recognition on OST Locator 
  • Certificate of completion
  • Access to exclusive PD resources and materials
  • Additional support and capacity building
To find out more and attend a session and the schedule of sessions, please click here

NC CAP wants to highlight your program!
The North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs would like to highlight program successes statewide. Tell us about your program and you might be our Program Spotlight in the next edition of the Afterschool Observer or on Social Media. Click the Program Spotlight below to be redirected to the updated survey link to tell us about your program. 

The American Honda Foundation engages in grant making that reflects the basic tenets, beliefs and philosophies of Honda companies, which are characterized by the following qualities: imaginative, creative, youthful, forward-thinking, scientific, humanistic and innovative. They support youth education with a specific focus on the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects in addition to the environment. Funding priority is youth education, specifically in the areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, the environment, job training and literacy. 
The Burroughs Wellcome Fund application for the 2020 Student STEM Enrichment Program (SSEP) grant awards is open. SSEP supports diverse programs with a common goal: to enable primary and secondary students to participate in creative, hands-on STEM activities for K-12 students and pursue inquiry-based exploration in BWF's home state of North Carolina. These awards provide up to $60,000 per year for three years. The application deadline is  April 15, 2020 .  

The goals of these grants are to: empower youth by providing hands-on environmental stewardship opportunities; inspire youth and communities to become agents of change for their environment; serve as a catalyst for education that uses the environment as a context for applied and STEM learning. 

The    Ezra Jack Keats Foundation is offering funding of up to $500 to design and implement a creative program for your school or library! Public schools, public libraries, and public preschool programs are encouraged to apply.   Previous successful projects have included a public story walk, a multicultural portrait project, a school garden, a bookmaking workshop, and an inter-generational storytelling day.

Youth-led community service projects designed to address childhood hunger.  Projects may take place in schools, colleges/universities, afterschool programs, youth organizations, nonprofits, or faith-based organizations. Projects that engage at least 50, 75, or 100 young people ages 5-25 as volunteers on Global Youth Service Day - April 17-19, 2020. Projects that will continue through summer 2020 are eligible for additional funding of $400. Projects that engage youth not typically asked to serve (youth with disabilities, youth that are struggling in school, youth from low-income or underserved communities, etc.)

The Westinghouse Charitable Giving Program provides financial support  to communities in one or more strategic areas of giving including (1) Education with a focus on STEM, (2) Environment Sustainability, (3) Community Safety and Vitality.

Facebook's Engineer for a Week aims to demystify the world of tech by empowering students to build a working tech prototype while developing computer science skills. We believe that all students have the ability to learn to code and we hope to increase access in historically under-served  environments where technology is limited. Through project-based experiences, EFTW hopes to inspire the next generation of diverse engineers.
To influence policy and serve as a catalyst, convener, and clearinghouse for afterschool programs through advocacy, professional development, and quality improvement. 

High quality afterschool programs accessible to all North Carolina children and youth helping them to succeed in and out of school. 
NC CAP | 919.781.6833 | Email | Website